Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has said that Ukraine should not gain energy independence at the expense of coal miners' lives, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

"If the country needs independence, then each miner's life should be protected, we cannot pay for each tonne of coal with life and health of the people, who are extracting it," the premier said on Saturday at Makiyivka, where eight miners were killed in a coalmine accident on August 23.

Tymoshenko also assured that the government would provide the financing of the program for technical reequiment of all the coalmines in Ukraine. All the coal enterprises of the country should be equipped with the UTAS unified telecommunication automatic dispatcher control systems by the end of next year.

The government has already assigned UAH 100 million from this year's budget for financing of this program, the premier said. On Monday the government will start allocating these funds, so that they could complete the process by the middle of 2010 and install UTAS systems at each mine in Ukraine, Tymoshenko added.


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